Andrew (The Petersheim Brothers #1) by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she, in turn, accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

My Review:

A great book to show what true forgiveness of one’s sins means. There is only one true judge and He is in the heavens above. I also think it shows us bravery. It takes a strong woman to decide to walk through pregnancy on her own without the man she thought was her forever. It takes bravery to leave a bad situation.

I enjoy Beckstrand’s creative license with some of her Amish characters. Fans of Beckstrand all know the quirky grandma, Anna, from her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and now we have Bitsy, who definitely marches to her drummer. These characters make her books fun and entertaining.

I am looking forward to reading book two, Abraham, releasing November 2019.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Jealousy Filled Donuts (Deputy Donut #3) by Ginger Bolton

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Pages: 281

Publisher: Kensington

Published: August 27, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon: It is a truth universally acknowledged—cops and donuts go together. Exhibit A: Deputy Donut Café, owned and operated by detective’s widow Emily Westhill and her father-in-law, the retired police chief of Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. Named after Emily’s adored and adorable tabby, the donut shop is a favorite among cops, firemen, and EMTs, as well as tourists and townspeople. So when Fallingbrook needs donuts for their Fourth of July picnic, Emily’s shop gets deputized.

But a twisted killer has found another use for Emily’s treats. At the picnic, a firecracker is hidden in a stack of raspberry-filled donuts and aimed at the unwitting queen of the festivities. When it explodes, she is killed. Having her jelly donuts involved puts Emily in a sticky situation, and when a shady shutterbug tries to frame her with incriminating photos, she finds herself in quite a jam. To preserve her freedom and her shop’s reputation, Emily needs to solve this case—before the fuse-lighting felon goes off again …

My Review: The ending is so romantic and swoon-worthy for a cozy mystery. I LOVE the fact that there is not a romantic triangle for Emily. I am already jonesing for the next book in the series!

I admit the first book in the series was not a home run for me but the second was good and this one is REALLY good. How can you not like a cozy mystery set in a donut shop with the most adorable cat ever written? I am not a big donut eater but this series is making me rethink that. I am ready to try the maple cheddar donut with some bacon.

Emily is the friend we all wish we had and were to others. Sincere, caring and joyful to be around. I like the addition of Jocelyn and hope to see more of her.

I suggest reading the series in order just so you get the full effect of the ending of this book. This series is clean in the romance department and language. Murder, of course, occurs but I wouldn’t say it is gory. A good series to start reading cozy mysteries if you haven’t read them before.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

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Pages: 184

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Published: May 21, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults, and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race when his pumpkin crashed into her as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

My Review: A beautifully written book showing young readers how the world around them isn’t always about them. Billie is very self-absorbed but I don’t think any more so than other children her age. This her summer of growing and learning for the next stage of her life.

I was very impressed with how the author weaved science and math into the story without the reader feeling like they just received a lesson.

I would definitely recommend this book to any on my middle-grade readers with confidence.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Children’s through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Sanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn

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Pages: 268

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 23, 2013

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

My review:

What I like: I love the mystery that runs through each book in the series. The mystery is very interesting and both books have kept me guessing almost to the end.

I enjoy the animals featured and was very pleased to see Jazzi get the kittens from the little boy and not go to a pet store. I imagine those kittens are going to give George the Pug a run for his money shortly.

What I don’t like: Ansel’s insecurity with Jazzi is very disturbing almost to the point of being controlling. Yes, they’ve known each other a while but only been dating two months and already he is pressuring her to let him put a ring on it. A comment is made almost every day. I am tired of reading how handsome he is. We get it, he is the perfect Nordic God. How he acted while away at his family was sickening. Where is the trust he says he has in Jazzi? He is not showing it.

There is a lot of beer drinking while working. Every time they take a break, it’s “Let’s go have a beer.” Maybe they should drink some water every now and then.

The lead detective asking Jazzi for help in notifying next of kin was very far fetched for me. Seemed absurd. Yes, I realize this is fiction but it made the story hard to believe. No police officer that I know would be asking a civilian to help him break the news to the next of kin that someone has died.

I would not give this to a young teenager to read as there are adult situations (no details but heavily implied), drinking and the controlling behavior of Ansel.

I like the Jazzi Sanders Mystery series but it is not my favorite. I will continue to read the series.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Amish Christmas Letters by Patricia Davids, Sarah Price and Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In this collection of three stories from three wonderful writers of the Amish romance genre we meet Marybeth Martin in Marybeth’s Circle Letter. In order not to host her Great Aunt Ingrid she must match one more couple before Christmas. Her target is Josiah Weaver, a widower who is in need of a nanny but can that person also be his next love? In Love Delivered by Sarah Price we meet Katie Mae and her father who is wheelchair bound. Due to the unfortunate circumstances their farm is suffering. The bishop has a plan but will Katie Mae accept the help? In Sealed with a Kiss by Jennifer Beckstrand we get to catch up with Anna and Felty from her Huckleberry Hill series. Anna has sent Carolyn to be a babysitter for a large family that is too busy to see to the needs of their children. Will Carolyn fall in love with their uncle or will she run away in frustration?

All three stories start out with a letter known as a circle letter. Person A writes a letter to all and mails it to person B. Person B reads letter A, writes letter B and sends letters A and B to person C. The letters continue until it gets back to the original person who takes out the old letter of theirs and repeats. What an interesting way to communicate not involving electronic communication. I still believe old fashioned letters are the best kind.

This is the perfect book for a cold winter’s night of reading in anticipation to Christmas. The stories are romantic and sometimes full of laughter. You will find yourself immersed in the beauty of the Amish and cheering each woman on in her quest for fulfillment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #10) by Joanne Fluke

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Pages: 343 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

Published: March 2008 (original publish date)

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

First, I want to start off that if you read some previous reviews before starting the book you will probably be turned off from this series. Second, even if I do not like a book I am not going to bash the author and other reviewers for liking a book I did not. Reading is to be fun and everyone likes different styles and wants to get something different from what they read. Let’s be nice to the author’s who work hard at what they craft and the readers who enjoy the results. Now, onto my review.

I enjoy this series as my “fun” reads. Does Hannah Swenson try to solve world peace? No. Does Hannah have issues in choosing the perfect man in her life? Yes, but didn’t (doesn’t) most of us. Consider yourself lucky if you found Mr. Perfect on your first try.

In the tenth Hannah Swenson mystery, Hannah is helping her business partner Lisa with her large week long family reunion out at Lake Eden. Lisa’s long lost Uncle Gus makes an appearance at the family reunion but it is not all hugs and love. It appears Uncle Gus was quite the ladies man and moocher. Hannah is sent on a mission to find Uncle Gus for the family photo and instead finds him belly up next to her infamous carrot cake. Who wanted Uncle Gus dead and why?

Carrot Cake Murder did not have the sense of danger around every corner as some of the other books in the series did and it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. But, I still had a hard time figuring out the killer until close to the end.

I admit I have not read the two books before I read this one so I am curious about a couple of items mentioned as to what occurred previously. It might make more sense as to what I have read about what happens in a later book regarding Hannah and her choosing a particular man as her husband.

Of course there are plenty of yummy recipes scattered throughout the book. A few I want to try salmon cakes, cocoa fudge cake, Mexican hotdish and funeral hotdish..

Home on Huckleberry Hill (The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill #9) by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Our favorite octogenarians, Annie and Felty, are back playing matchmaker, but this time it is for their already married granddaughter, Mary Anne. Mary Anne and her husband, Jethro, are having marital issues. The straw that broke the camels back was when Jethro forgot their anniversary and went fishing with his friends. Mary Anne decided to move out…into a tent in their backyard. Her grandparents get wind of the move and decided to join her camping in the backyard. Pretty soon Annie and Felty have a slew of relatives showing solidarity to Mary Anne. Will Annie and Felty succeed in getting the younguns’ back together or is all hope lost?

This by far is my favorite Amish romance series. I mark on my calendar when the next book is coming out. Annie and Felty are the most loving and forgiving set of grandparents ever. They make you jump for joy, cry and sing with laughter.

I admire Mary Anne for moving out and standing up for what she felt was right. In all marriages we have tough times and need a moment to ourselves. Some just walk into another room but obviously Mary Anne felt that was not going to work.

Jennifer Beckstrand is the perfect writer to bring the fun side of the Amish to life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.